Players in China are in turmoil and shock when they woke up today to find that the Chinese government has reportedly banned the global version of Steam Storefront from their country.
The reports first surfaced when several Chinese gamers posted posts on the Chinese social media site complaining that they could not log into their Steam accounts or open the official Steam website. Players report that almost all functions of Steam, including the community pages, do not open at all.
Back in February 2021, Steam officially launched its China-only client with a much smaller collection of games for sale. Steam China only offers selected games whose release in China has been approved by the Chinese agencies. The China-only version of the site and client is still available in the country, but no one knows if it will stay online or be banned soon.
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This is not surprising given that the Chinese government has been actively cracking down on games and gaming companies for the past 12 months. From limiting game time for under 18s to limiting the amount of money players can spend per week buying microtransactions in-game.
In order for new games to be allowed in the country, the developers had to remove several anti-Chinese elements, including the presence of “female men”. It is also reported that no new games were approved or an operating license obtained for two months in 2021.
While the global version of Steam is not available, the two most popular games on Steam – Dota 2 and CSGO – are not affected by this blockage, as they are both also available on Steam China. While other games like Monster Hunter World, GTA Online, Destiny 2 etc. are badly affected by this blockade as they are not officially available in China and were only accessible through the global client.
Although several reports are surfacing suggesting it was a DNS attack rather than a Blanker ban, we’ll be waiting to hear from Valve shortly.
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